BeReal: A practical guide for marketers and adults



By {grow} community member Fiona Lucas

I was curious when I first heard of BeReal, the red-hot, French-created app built on spontaneous content. Could this be the end of overly curated, ego-driven social media posts? Today, I’ll share my experience with this new social media phenomenon.

Working in the cyber-safety space for many years, I have seen the hurt caused by that need for a “perfect post.” I am haunted by the story of one young man who literally took more than 200 photos before he could even leave the house. BeReal sounded like a breath of fresh air, helping us to accept ourselves as we are in an Insta-perfect world.

Trying to BeReal

berealThe concept for BeReal (and TikTok’s “Now” – released in September 2022) is to capture unscripted, everyday moments of life at a random moment in time.

My first forage was a little disappointing, to say the least. Not wanting to share my entire contact list with an unknown app developer (this is just something I avoid to protect my list from potential breaches) meant I was initially only connected with the one person who had introduced me to the app. My friend and brilliant marketer, Phyllis Khare.

As much as I loved seeing a little of her world (we live on different continents), it seemed strange not being able to hit a button to speak or leave a voice message and only being able to leave a public comment.

The (rather annoying) prompts to post on cue come at very inopportune times. They certainly don’t consider different time zones!

I was always “posting late” (oh, the shame!). To see posts in your circle, you need to post. However, you can only post daily in a given time slot, so you are limited in interactions.

You can comment on posts once you see them; however, these comments are open to anyone connected to the person you are messaging.

The good, the bad, the BeReal

While initially there was a bit of fun, it became apparent that one must be careful what is in front of and behind the camera to avoid embarrassing mishaps or inadvertent captures that may breach privacy (think of whoever might be in the frame).

I see the appeal. What fun to post a pic of yourself doing whatever it is you are doing. And better still, there are no likes, no need to compete, no ads, and no algorithms. When speaking to a group of teens about the app, comments included:

  • “I don’t have to worry about looking perfect”
  • “It’s more authentic”
  • “I feel better when I can see everyone else has a normal life too. We don’t always have to look like we are doing something amazing”

But it appears that staying connected with friends in an easy way is the main attraction:



There are no filters. There is little or no moderation beyond reporting an image if you see it. This leads me to have some concerns: 1) the risk of exposure to inappropriate or disturbing images, and 2) because your location is reported by default, there is a potential for physical danger.

Limiting your posts to a safe circle of friends is the best way to approach the app, especially for young people who might not be able to discern dangerous clues yet.

BeReal for adults

On a personal level, I can see how BeReal is perfect for groups of friends or family members who REALLY want to keep up with things happening in their lives. It’s the little things that can keep our bonds strong over time and distance.

The once-a-day prompt can become bothersome for a busy professional!

From a marketing perspective, Phyllis and I agree that front/back camera features can open up some fabulous creative opportunities. Phyllis felt BeReal wouldn’t take off with business quite the way other apps have.

Research from GWI shows that compared to the average consumer in France, the UK, and the USA, BeReal users are:

  • 2.7x more likely to say standing out in a crowd is important to them
  • 2.1x more likely to describe themselves as fashion-conscious
  • 2.3x more likely to want brands help them improve their image
  • 2.5x more likely to want brands to be exclusive

But given that part of the appeal is that there are no ads and fresh, non-curated images, most of the power will come from personal brands, as evidenced by this research. I can only imagine very few celebrities enjoying being caught in everyday situations when many have spent a fortune to curate a specific look and image!

I can see how a brand with a mascot like the Coca-Cola polar bear or the Geico Gecko could have some wonderful fun on this app.

As to the freshness of a spontaneous posting? Well, reality doesn’t bite – a forage into the discovery (public) of the app reveals normal life is just that ordinary — people in bed, people driving and photos of their legs, people working, watching TV. Fun for a while, but will it grow stale quickly?

Top tips for BeReal

  • Join with a group of friends so you can safely learn about the app
  • Given that the privacy statement from BeReal needs to be stronger, I recommend not connecting all your contacts automatically. Protect your data where you can.
  • For children (13+ is the age grouping), ensure they keep a private profile.
  • If you venture into the discovery section, be prepared to see many photos of legs in cars or people in bed!
  • Check what is in the view front and back of the camera before posting!
  • For an audience interested in exclusivity, standing out, and being plugged into new trends, just having the app signals some kind of status. Perhaps there is a first-mover brand advantage if there is an opportunity to be part of this exclusivity while the app is relatively new.

I probably prefer TikTok or Instagram Reels for now. The only real point of differentiation for BeReal is that the prompt comes randomly. I’m not leaving it yet, but I’m not recommending it to clients yet either until we see what new functionality is ahead.

fiona lucasFiona Lucas is an acclaimed Australia-based social media & online community strategist, consultant, mentor, moderator, speaker & author. 

She works with both small businesses and large corporations developing innovative digital strategies for growth and engagement, reducing risk, and helping them to humanize their brand. Through education and training, she assists business owners in engaging with their clients and prospects authentically. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. She’s not ready to follow you on BeReal. Yet. 

Top illustration created by Mark Schaefer via MidJourney AI. Second illustration courtesy BeReal.

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